NASCAR driver uses auction to sell mansion
Thursday, Jul. 05, 2012
Joe Nemechek has taken home trophies at dozens of NASCAR events over the past three decades, but selling his multi-million dollar Mooresville estate before the real estate market crashed was one race he couldn't win.
Nemechek, the 1992 Busch series champion and owner of NEMCO Motorsports, is auctioning the 139-acre equestrian estate, Finncastle, after years of depressed real estate conditions made a traditional sale difficult.
This was mainly an investment, he said. The economy is just what caught us. When it turned, it affected us.
The five-week auction period began last week, said Sarena Irwin, project manager for Concierge Auctions.
The entire property has been on the market since 2009. It was originally listed at $10.995 million, then reduced to $8.4 million.
Nemechek decided to hold an auction because of the certainty of the property selling.
It's definitely time to move on to the next chapter of my life the next project, he said, adding that this was his largest and last real estate project.
Nemechek and his wife, Andrea, bought part of the estate, including a 8,900-square-foot home, from retired NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan about six years ago.
He originally planned to redevelop the property into an equestrian community and sell the land off in single-family plots. The family poured money and time into the equestrian center and into making more than 30 plots of land builder-ready for residential development.
Finncastle was originally placed on the market in 2007 as an equestrian community with 34 lots ranging in size from two and a half to five acres.
After struggling to find buyers, Nemechek placed the entire estate on the market as one parcel in 2009.
Irwin expects the equestrian center to be a major draw to the property.
Christine Nemechek, Joe's sister-in-law and director of the center, said they spared no expense, and today they board 13 horses and host trainers and riders from around the world.
We went into it with the view of having a state-of-the-art equestrian center, he said. At the time of the project, Nemechek's kids where interested in horses.
The goal was to have a place where you go through the gate and everything is peaceful, he said.
In that respect, Nemechek succeeded.
After passing through the iron gates of Finncastle, visitors drive through acre upon acre of rolling green pastures.
Horses roam the grounds, munching on grass and sticking their heads out of barn windows. At the end of the winding roads is the home: a two-story house with five bedrooms, multiple fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the property.
Nemechek arrived at Finncastle this week in a blue Chevrolet truck, wearing faded blue jeans and a brown Polo T-shirt. Nemechek has been in racing since he was 13.
Throughout his professional career, he has picked up awards, including Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 1990 and Most Popular Driver in 1992 and 1993. Ranked 11th in the Nationwide series, Nemechek has won 16 races, 18 poles and had 124 top-10 finishes, according to Nascar.com.
In 2008, as the housing bubble burst and real estate prices plummeted, Finncastle was about 30 percent complete. Although luxury real estate sales were in a tailspin, Nemechek said he decided to finish the project anyway.
Real estate broker Hanes Walker said several buyers showed interest in buying Finncastle or the individual lots, but none panned out. Walker, a broker with Pinnacle Sotheby's International Realty, has been working on the sale since 2009.
He said Pinnacle, the Lake Lure branch of Sotheby's, saw business plummet after the real estate crash. But with real estate now beginning to rebound, high-end customers are re-entering the market.
People are starting to get back into the market, he said. The pent-up demand is starting to show itself.
Irwin, on the other hand, said New York City-based Concierge Auctions, which is coordinating the auction, remained busy throughout the housing slump.
Though previously seen as a last resort for bank foreclosures and financially troubled homeowners, auctions have become increasingly popular in luxury real estate.
Unlike traditional sales which can drag on while taxes and property expenses accumulate auctions bring together a group of interested buyers on a deadline.
The live auction will be Aug. 2 at the Mooresville estate, located off N.C. 152. The property will go to the highest bidder. There is a $100,000 fee to participate in the auction, but it is refundable.
Nemechek isn't sure if he will attend the auction because of his racing schedule, but he would like to. I'm proud of this property, he said. There is no detail that has not been looked at.